A naval officer from Lompoc was one of two who died in a Red Sea helicopter crash, and a memorial fund has been established to help support his widow and their two young sons.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones, 35, a graduate of Cabrillo High School and the U.S. Naval Academy, was killed Sept. 22 when his MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed in the central Red Sea while on patrol with the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence, Navy officials said.
Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore., also died in the crash.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, but officials said hostile fire has been ruled out.
Navy officials said the Nimitz group had been scheduled to return to San Diego in late summer but it was rerouted to the Red Sea on Sept. 1 for a possible military strike against Syria.
According to Navy officials, Jones was commissioned in May 2001 and was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Navy “E” Ribbon, the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal.
Jones is survived by his wife and their two boys, a 6-year-old and a 3-month-old born during his deployment.
A memorial fund has been set up to support Jones' family. Checks made out to the "Landon Jones Memorial Fund" can be sent to the Navy Federal Credit Union, Attn: Landon Jones Memorial Fund, 55 Saturn Blvd., Suite C, San Diego 92154 or via PayPal account at email@example.com.
The Navy said a memorial service will be held aboard the USS Nimitz.